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Old October 16, 2012, 09:14 AM   #1
papadork
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Any point shooting .357 magnum from a snubbie?

According to ballistics101.com, the energy from a Speer GDHPSB isn't much more than a .38 +p. Does it make sense to shoot a fire breathing .357 magnum round from a tiny gun like an Airweight or an LCR?
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Old October 16, 2012, 09:21 AM   #2
QuakertownRich
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Not to me, but that's me. I personally don't own any snub revolvers, but if I did, I would go with 38spl with +p capability.
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Old October 16, 2012, 11:52 AM   #3
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I carry a 357 LCR, I shoot 158 grain JHP, it is very accurate. Put a 38 special +p in the same revolver and it's a pussycat, I average about 1125 fps with a 158 grain Hornaday XTP out of my LCR. This is considerably less than I can get out of my 6" GP100.

I shoot hand loads that I specifically loaded for a snub nose revolver, little or no powder flash, and a 158 grain hard hitting HP. Recoil is considerable and took practice to get used to it, now I am proficient with it.

I don't even bother looking at ballistics on paper until i have real data to start with, without real world first hand data, it's a complete waste of my valuable time.
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Old October 16, 2012, 12:15 PM   #4
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My opinion of airweight model or the LCR - is no, on the .357 mag loads...at least in terms of practice...( recoil even with a 158gr bullet isn't manageable for me ....but its because I find the guns too small in my hands to manage the recoil)....

vs a better option ...a K frame model 66 in a 2 1/2" is very manageable ...and very accurate for me out to 21 - 30 feet with no issues / at the same time, I would use the same holster for a K frame 2 1/2" or a 4" ...so even going to a 4" model 66 is even a better option. There is a little weight difference between a K frame mod 66 in a 2 1/2" vs a 4" ...but with a good leather holster and a good belt ...the 4" is just fine as well.

The only way I would consider an airweight or an LCR an option is as a "pocket gun"...

but you should go to a range where you can rent them and make your own choice based on how they feel in your hands...
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Old October 16, 2012, 12:23 PM   #5
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I'm thinking in terms of ballistics for the .357. There is a lot energy wasted with a 1.8" barrel. But I guess the goes for .38+p as well.
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Old October 16, 2012, 01:16 PM   #6
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The ballistics is relative...on a .38 spl vs .357 mag out of a short barrel / both of them are reduced significantly...

One way to judge these guns that you're considering ....as you test fire them at your local range....use a timer ....can you draw out of a holster ..and double tap a target at 21 Feet in under 3 sec ...can you triple tap it in under 4 sec.../ if you can't, then I say the recoil and the way those light guns bounce around, is part of the issue.....and to test it, try it with an all steel version like a model 66 2 1/2" and a 4" ...same drill double tap in under 3 sec and triple tap in under 4 sec....

I shoot revolvers a lot ...and that drill with a K frame, even with full power .357 mag loads is a piece of cake for me with a 4" ...a little rough with a 2 1/2" ( I'm 90% accurate ) ....in the tactical pyramid ...nipple to nipple and down to belly button..../ ideally I want to be under time -and 100% on target by that criteria. If my groups are under time and too tight -- like only 6" ...then I need to push myself to speed up and lower the time. I also run the same drill with an N frame .357 mag 4" model 27....and with the N frame, I'm quicker and 100% on target because that gun is so smooth up and out and double tapping target in double action....

To me, its a good way to evaluate your guns ....( your semi-autos too )...
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Old October 16, 2012, 01:57 PM   #7
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Even if its small 357 magnum still has an advantage over 38 so when I'm carrying I'd use 357 magnum and 38 mostly when at the range. I have never had any issue with 357 recoil though. For someone that does have issues with the recoil, the small power gain wouldn't be worth it.
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Old October 16, 2012, 02:13 PM   #8
papadork
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Quote:
"The ballistics is relative...on a .38 spl vs .357 mag out of a short barrel / both of them are reduced significantly..."
Makes sense, thanks.
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Old October 16, 2012, 03:45 PM   #9
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Anything out of a short barrel is slower than from a longer barrel. YMMV with different ammo, etc.

All snubbie .357s are a little picky about ammo, but usually the manual will cover that a bit. Full house .357 loads will probably kick too much, make too much flash, waste powder because it burns too slow, and the bullets you have left in the cylinder will jump crimp on their cases, and you'll end up with a jammed up cylinder.

That said, I have a Ruger LCR in .357 and I love it.

Practice with CCI Blazer 158gr and carry Remmington Golden Saber. They're both 'lighter' loads. They have similar feels when shooting them, so you don't have to worry about practicing with something that doesn't shoot like it would when you might use it for real (practicing with 38 special). The Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel stuff supposedly does really well in terms of ballistics, but I prefer the way the Golden Saber feels shooting it.
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Old October 16, 2012, 03:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Does it make sense to shoot a fire breathing .357 magnum round from a tiny gun like an Airweight or an LCR?
Depends a lot on which "fire breathing" 357 load your talking about. The 357 mag SBGD isn't much of a fire breather, 125gr JHPs that are rated at 1400 from a 4" loose a lot of oomph when fired from a snub and are definatly fire breathers. I use 145gr silvertips out of my K frame snubs and 38+p SBGDs out of my airweight snubs. But my lightweight snubs are 38s. I sold my M&P 340 because I found that real 357s recoiled too much for me and I ended up shooting 125gr golden sabers in it. Shortly there after I got a great deal on a large quanity of 38 +P SBGDs and traded off the M&P and ~$100 for a 442 and a LCR. I figured 2 38s with SBGD would more than make up for the little power I was giving up.
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Old October 16, 2012, 04:03 PM   #11
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I own both .38 Spl and .357 Snubs. I also own a chronograph. My own chronograph results showed that the .357 has about a 300 fps advantage with the same bullets over the .38 Spl. Some 38 +P do little more than some of the standard rounds.

BUT, the .357 is wicked to shoot in light guns.

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Old October 16, 2012, 04:18 PM   #12
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Yes, my snubbie SD loads are loaded with fast burning powder and magnum primers, all within published limits. The end result is a powerful, accurate round without the fire breathing and powder spitting.
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Old October 16, 2012, 07:10 PM   #13
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I love shooting hot loads in my 640. My self defence loads are Buffalo bore Tactical (low flash) 125 grain ammo.

Out of any length barrel the 357 magnum will out preform the 38 special in the same barrel.

That said when my wife carries my 640 (she steals it from time to time) she puts 38special semiwadcutters in it.
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Old October 16, 2012, 07:28 PM   #14
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The Speer Short Barrel .357 Magnum loading is one of the mildest loadings available in that caliber. Most of the data that I've seen pretty much mimics JerryM's observations: with full-power ammo from mainstream makers (Winchester, Remington, Federal, Speer, and Hornady), a .357 Magnum can fairly easily drive a 125gr bullet at 1200+fps and a 158gr bullet at 1100+fps from a ~2" barrel.
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Old October 16, 2012, 07:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
According to ballistics101.com, the energy from a Speer GDHPSB isn't much more than a .38 +p. Does it make sense to shoot a fire breathing .357 magnum round from a tiny gun like an Airweight or an LCR?
I used to be all about the .357 snubbies, used to own a model 60 in 357 and eventually came to the conclusion that quicker and more accurate follow up shots means more than the slight performance boost of the .357 over .38+p. I eventually traded that model 60 in and got an older 640 in .38 since its a good deal smaller. Not to mention the .357 out of a snubbies is punishing to the ears especially indoors.
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Old October 16, 2012, 07:49 PM   #16
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The thing about the Speer Gold Dot short barrel ones is that supposedly the actual bullet is designed to expand better at lower velocities, more like a standard bullet does at higher velocities.
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Old October 16, 2012, 08:45 PM   #17
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But it looks kewl and makes you feel better about your gun and load. I have tested the Gold Dot in several calibers in handloads and they absolutely will expand at velocities that any snub can generate. If you can drive them at 875 fps. they'll open up. It is a very good design. 20 years ago this was not possible. We don't "need" to drive very light bullets at very fast speeds anymore, although that used to be the case.
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Old October 17, 2012, 12:09 AM   #18
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Winchester 125 grn 357 mags will do 1250 from a S&W 640. That is an increase of 300 fps from the very best 125 grn +p 38. If you are a dedicated shooter it is worth it. If you will not master the gun than no.

The bullets that worked 20 years ago still work today. I carry Corbon 125 DPX @ 1250 FPS from my 640 Pro.
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Old October 17, 2012, 12:30 AM   #19
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Quote:
BUT, the .357 is wicked to shoot in light guns.
I haven't bought the light ones yet. My friend was trying to sell a couple....you see the same thing in 44s too sometimes
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Old October 17, 2012, 12:49 AM   #20
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Quote:
The thing about the Speer Gold Dot short barrel ones is that supposedly the actual bullet is designed to expand better at lower velocities, more like a standard bullet does at higher velocities.
Plus they are low flash.
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Old October 17, 2012, 04:19 AM   #21
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If you shoot a soda can with a .38 snub it will fall over.
If you shoot a soda can with a .357 snub it will fly several feet.

For me you have to have all steel in a .357 snub and my choice is the Ruger SP101. For pocket carry of these relatively heavy pocket guns you need a high quality, stiff pocket holster and the very best is still the Kramer horsehide.
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Old October 17, 2012, 07:02 AM   #22
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.357 in a <2" snub. Well, if you're tired of listening to your wife's nagging, it's a good way to wipe out a few decibels' worth of hearing ability. Although it is always recommended to wear ear and eye protection at the range, if you're talking about a gun intended for non-range use, then you could lighten up your ear protection some time when you're all alone with your snub, like shoving some cotton in your ears instead of wearing muffs, to see what the difference will be. I found the blast from short-barrel .327 Mag and .357 Mag. to be terrible - would sooner go to a bulldog .44 Spl. or just the .38+Ps mentioned here.

In any event, I'd want a 4" SP101 before I'd be shooting .357s.
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Old October 17, 2012, 08:07 AM   #23
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BigJimP, Post #6, well done, great points. As you pointed out, it's controlability that's the issue...if you can't get follow up shots on target, you'll be in trouble.

Front Sight, the NV based training institute points out that you have 1.8 seconds from wherever you've packed your defensive hand gun to get two shots, aimed, and within a hand's breadth apart to the thoracic region at 21 feet. Will that stop the fight? Maybe, but it should give you more time to find cover, or get the heck out of Dodge.

They also point out that off the range and on the street, if you're lucky, you're shooting accuracy is degraded by 50%...that's why the hand's spread grouping is used...it'll still keep you in the thoracic region with a 50% degradation...practice that way...if your groups are smaller, then you are wasting valuable time, if bigger, you need to slow up to ensure hits where you need them. Again, it's contolability, that's the issue.

They also teach 'controlled pairs' vs 'double taps'. A controlled pair is two shots, delivered with two distinct tho brief sight pictures...the first with a sight alignment, the 2nd with a sight alignment, however brief. In a 'double tap'; it's two shots delivered as rapidly as possible from the first and only sight alignment. FS has shown that that 2nd shot in a double tap, most often goes too high to land in the thoracic region...and they contend that it's a wasted shot. The controlled pair method, gets both shots in where they're needed and takes only a split second longer...1.8 seconds from the holster is the qualifying standard.

Fire breathing magnums are fine, but if you can't get that 2nd, 3rd, or 4th shot off in a near panic situation, you're fooling yourself. The "one stop shot" is a Hollywood myth, unless you're very lucky.

JMHO, & Best Regards, Rod
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Old October 17, 2012, 01:48 PM   #24
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Good thread, I have long wanted a snub, decided long ago that .357 would be the only way to go given only 5 rds capacity, and then I can never quite get over the "hump" of the waste of energy out of a 2" +/- bbl. I continually revisit this in light of new & improved ammo, but for now my "snub" is a G27.
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Old October 17, 2012, 02:28 PM   #25
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not all snubs are 13oz and hard to control with magnum loads
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